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Low Cost Demonstrations To Teach Structure Of Materials

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

K-20 Activities in Materials Science

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.830.1 - 8.830.4



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Paper Authors

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Mark Palmer

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2364

Low Cost Demonstrations to Teach Structure of Materials

Mark A. Palmer Kettering University


Demonstrations and hands-on exercises have been used to enhance student learning in a materials science course for general engineering students. Using styrofoam balls, toothpicks, and simple organic chemistry models, students build crystal structures, polymer chains, and amorphous silica structures. These models are then used to illustrate slip in metal crystals, the origin of surface energy, and the interaction of polymer chains. This paper will focus on how these materials are used throughout the course both inside and outside the classroom. A second demonstration where students learn the differences between ductile and brittle fracture through the splitting of wood will be presented.


Most engineering students are required to complete a course in materials science and engineering. During the last several years an introductory course has been developed which is suitable for first year students1. The subject matter is organized according to the chain shown in Figure 1. That is, material Figure 1: Chain Approach to Teaching Materials Science. properties are dependent on structure which in turn is dependent on processing. The course begins with a discussion of structure, follows with a discussion of processing, and then allows the students to apply these concepts when discussing properties.

The topics covered during the structure portion of the course are below.

• Cubic Crystal Structures • Point Defects (Vacancies, Interstitials and Solute Atoms) • Dislocations • Surfaces and Interfaces • Amorphous Materials • Polymers, and • Phase Diagrams

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Palmer, M. (2003, June), Low Cost Demonstrations To Teach Structure Of Materials Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11484

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